Dolce & Gabbana accused of insulting China; blames hackers

TOKYO, JAPAN - OCTOBER 03: A general view of the Dolce & Gabbana Pop-up store launch event in Isetan Shinjuku Store on October 3, 2018 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Keith Tsuji/Getty Images for Dolce & Gabbana)

BEIJING — Dolce & Gabbana apologized Wednesday for insulting remarks about China it allegedly made in conversations on Instagram but denied that it was responsible.

Chinese celebrities reacted angrily after screenshots of the conversations were posted on social media and several said they would boycott a Dolce & Gabbana show that was scheduled for Wednesday night. The luxury fashion house later said the show had been postponed.

The screenshots appear to show co-founder Stefano Gabbana referring to China with crude terms and emoji as he defends promotional videos that had sparked controversy earlier. Separately, the Dolce & Gabbana Instagram account used offensive language in another exchange.

Dolce & Gabbana apologized on Instagram and said the accounts had been hacked. “We are very sorry for any distress caused by these unauthorized posts,” it said. “We have nothing but respect for China and the people of China.”

Zhang Ziyi, who starred in “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” said on one of her social media accounts that the Italian brand had “disgraced itself.”

The studio for pop idol Karry Wang, an Asia-Pacific brand ambassador for Dolce & Gabbana, said late Wednesday that it had informed the fashion house that it would terminate all cooperation with the brand.

Stefano Gabbana also wrote on his Instagram that his account had been hacked, adding “I love China and Chinese culture. I’m sorry for what happened.”

The three promotional videos, which have been deleted from the company’s Weibo account, feature a Chinese woman using chopsticks to eat pizza and other Italian food. Many Chinese social media users called the videos racist and full of outdated stereotypes.

Calls to Dolce & Gabbana’s offices in Shanghai and Beijing went unanswered.